Visiting the Ssese Islands!
This lush archipelago of 84 islands along Lake Victoria’s northwestern shore boat some stunning white-sand beaches and a very slow rhythm.
Ssese remains a great place to kick back and read a good book. There are canoes for hire, but swimming is unadvisable due to risks of bilharzias and the occasional hippo or crocodile.
Early in the last century, sleeping sickness hit the islands, which forced the original inhabitants to flee. People slowly drifted back and most settlement dates from the 1980s. There are few Bassese people anymore and their Lussese language has almost disappeared.
Because of the lack of settlement, the islands were largely unspoiled, but things have changed drastically in recent years. Overfishing and massive deforestation to make way for palm oil plantations have taken their toll on the biodiversity of the area.
Whereas most visitors to Ssese spend their time on Bugala Island where the ferryboat disembarks, Banda Island is a much more peaceful escape from the mainland. The Island Resort there offers comfortable accommodation and good food. Guests can walk around the island, paddle around Lake Victoria in canoes or kayaks or just hang out in a hammock slung between two palm trees.